eating

All posts tagged eating

He who eats alone chokes alone. Or how there’s always enough food in my house

Published June 13, 2013 by The Feminist

“Are you cooking for an entire army?” , “Are there some distant family members visiting I don’t know about?” ,or my ultimate favourite “Gosh, your imaginary friends have quite the appetite!”. Yes, every time I cook for my family at home, which is for 4 people most of the time, I’ll always end up cooking way too much food! Better too much than too little, that’s what my mother always says. And it seems her tendency to cook gigantic portions has infected me as well. Which often leads to oh so incredibly funny remarks from my brother and father (do note the hint of sarcasm there). I know that they just like pulling my leg and that the “imaginary friends” retort is just to provoke a sarcastic response, but I can’t help but feel guilty every time I see all those leftovers lying around in the fridge. They’re staring at me. Like all those hungry little African kids with bloated tummies you see on the news. Millions of people are starving and here I am, overindulging my family with food.

I’m trying to do something about my food-portion-miscalculation, however. For the first time I managed to cook two meals in a row that didn’t result in an over-stuffed fridge! Well,how about that?! 😉

I’m sure I’m not the only one suffering from food-portion-miscalculation. (At least I hope I’m not.) So if you have the same condition, take it from me: if I can get over it, so can you!

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Middle-Eastern trout with maftoul

This recipe is truly one you will cook again and again and again! The fragrant rub makes the trout incredibly tasty and moist and I just love the oversized Palestinian couscous!

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 4 trouts, scaled, gutted, cleaned
• 1 green courgette
• 1 yellow courgette
• 4 spring onions
• Fresh coriander, chopped
• 250gr maftoul
• 375 ml vegetable stock
For the rub:
• 1 red pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic
• ½ tbsp harissa
• 15gr confied lemon peel
• Coriander stalks
• ½ tsp ground cumin

Method:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the rub together in a blender until you get a thick paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Chop the courgette into 0.5 cm sliced and grill them for one minute on each side.
3. Score the skin of the fish several times. Stuff courgette slices in the body cavity of each trout. (Use the remaining courgette slices for the couscous later) Spread the sweet and spicy rub over the top of each trout and in the body cavity.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes.
5. For the maftoul, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the couscous and lightly toast them for a couple of minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and let it simmer for 5 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
6. Chop the remaining courgette slices in fine chunks and add them to the maftoul. Season with salt, pepper, lemon zest and ground cumin.
7. Finely chop the fresh coriander and spring onion and stir them through the maftoul.
8. Get ready to dig in!

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Risotto Quattro Tomato with pesto and goats’ cheese stuffed chicken

Not one, not two, not three but FOUR types of tomatoes went into this risotto! Needless to say it was an absolute flavour bomb. The stuffed chicken breasts are so easy to make and the goats’ cheese mixture guarantees you won’t end up with dry bits of chicken but with a flavoursome and moist piece of heaven! This will definitely become a family’s favourite!

Ingredients(serves 4)

For the chicken
• 4 skinned chicken breast
• 25gr fresh goat’s cheese
• 25gr home-made pesto
• 5 sundried tomatoes( in oil ), finely chopped
• Zest of half a lemon
For the risotto
• 300gr risotto rice
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1 can of chopped tomatoes
• 200gr cherry tomatoes
• 5 yellow vine tomatoes, quartered
• 10 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
• 50gr parmesan cheese
• Dried oregano
• Pinch of chili powder
• Small glass of semi-dry Madeira wine
• Vegetable stock

Method:
1. Using a sharp knife, make a deep incision down one side of each chicken breast to form a pocket in each
2. In a bowl, mix together the goats’ cheese, pesto, chopped sundried tomatoes and lemon zest then stuff the chicken breasts with this mixture. Skewer the chicken with toothpicks so the filling doesn’t seep out.
3. Fry the chicken breasts in a large frying pan for 2 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the chicken breasts to a preheated oven at 180°C and bake for a further 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, put all the different types of tomatoes in an oven-proof dish (except the canned tomatoes) and season with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Sprinkle a generous amount of olive oil over the top and put in the oven together with the chicken. Once your chicken is cooked, the tomatoes will be ready as well.
5. For the risotto, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and sauté the garlic and onion for a couple of minutes. Add the risotto rice and fry for a further 30 seconds.
6. Add the Madeira and cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced to almost nothing.
7. Add the canned tomatoes and chilli powder.
8. Add the warm vegetable stock a ladleful at a time, stirring between each addition to allow the liquid to be completely absorbed, until the rice is cooked and all the stock has been absorbed.
9. Stir in the parmesan cheese and add the roasted tomatoes from the oven.
10. Buon appetito!

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Italy vs. Asia: One battle, two winners! Spicy mango carpaccio with rice noodles and mint-peanut pesto

Published June 5, 2013 by The Feminist

DSCN2782Carpaccio and pesto are two of the world’s best known and loved Italian dishes. There is just something about incredibly thin slices of raw meat, fish, vegetables or fruit that makes it ridiculously sexy and appealing. The same thing can be said about the traditional basil pesto. That heavenly scent and that fragrant taste are enough to make me go through life as an overly cheerful and euphoric crazy person!

Question is, however, what happens when you transform something so traditionally Italian into an Italasian fusion dish? Italians will no doubt kill me. And so will the Asians. Probably.

Whatever. At least I will die in complete and utter satisfaction because this dish was mind-blowingly delish! The Italian carpaccio became a wonderful mango carpaccio with a tangy and spicy dressing and the basil pesto was turned into a lovely blend of fresh peppery mint and creamy peanut butter.

Sounds amazing, right? 😉

If you want to try this summery dish for yourself, here is the very simple recipe:

Spicy mango carpaccio

ingredients
• One ripe mango
• Chilli powder
• Juice of half a lime
• One spring onion, finely chopped
• Freshly ground pepper

Method:
1. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the mango as finely as possible and arrange the slices on a plate. Sprinkle on some lime juice, pepper, chilli powder and the chopped spring onion.

Rice noodles with a mint and peanut butter pesto

Ingredients (serves one)

• 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 tbsp mirin
• 1 heaped tbsp peanut butter
• 1 tbsp rice vinegar
• Lots and lots of fresh mint leaves
• Splash of fish sauce
• ½ green chilli pepper
• 125gr rice noodles

Method
1. Cook the rice noodles in salted water according to the instructions on the packet.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the pesto (except the spring onion) together in a blender until you get a lovely and thick sauce.
3. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok and stir-fry the spring onions for a minute. Add the cooked rice noodles and mint pesto and stir until all the noodles are beautifully coated.
4. Serve the fragrant mint noodles in the centre of your mango carpaccio.

Crazy-ass Cupcakes: Chilli-chocolate-thyme cupcakes with thyme and honey frosting

Published May 18, 2013 by The Feminist

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I know what you’re all thinking right now: Freak. Nut job. Completely bonkers.

Although I will not deny all these accusations (they are –after all- true) , the fact that you honestly believe that putting thyme and chilli in cupcakes is “not done”, frankly, says more about you than me.

Why are you so afraid to live on the crazy-side of life? Aren’t you tired of eating plain vanilla cupcakes? Wouldn’t you prefer being blown away by awesomely extravagant flavours?

If you are ready to step away from the ordinary vanillas of life and embrace your inner freaky chilli personality, this recipe is definitely something for you! The chocolate provides that reassuring comfort, whereas the chilli and thyme blow your flavour palette wide open. The fresh thyme adds a distinct flowery aroma to the sponge and the chilli creates that little tingle on your tongue, without completely overpowering all the other flavours or making your eyes water. The intriguing honey comes through in the end, composing a taste-bud tickling aftertaste drenched in heavenly sweetness…

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Chilli-chocolate-thyme cupcakes with thyme and honey frosting

Ingredients (makes 6)

For the sponge:
• 20gr unsalted butter
• 10gr cocoa powder
• 50gr plain flour
• 70gr caster sugar
• ¾ tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp (hot!) chilli powder
• 1 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves
• 1 egg
• 50ml milk

For the frosting:
• 50gr unsalted butter
• 75gr icing sugar
• 4 tbsp runny honey
• Pinch of chilli powder
• Fresh thyme

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and chilli powder in a large bowl and mix until you get a sandy consistency.
2. Slowly pour in the milk and add the egg, mixing well until all the ingredients are combined.
3. Stir through the fresh thyme.
4. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and bake into the oven for 20 minutes. Leave to cool completely before frosting.
5. For the frosting, mix together the butter, sugar, chilli powder and honey until it is smooth and glossy. Spread a generous amount of frosting onto each cupcake and sprinkle on some fresh thyme leaves.

The Oh-My-It’s-Mother’s-Day Pie: Pistachio, Date and Mascarpone Pie

Published May 11, 2013 by The Feminist

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In celebration of Mother’s Day I wanted to bake something truly extraordinary to honor an even more extraordinary woman: my mother. Throughout the years, all my ups and downs, highs and lows and a lot of exam freak-out moments, my mother has always been there no matter what. She is one of my biggest supporters, cheering me on every time I need to jump another hurdle, and is always happy to impart a few words of wisdom.
To show her how grateful and appreciative I am, I decided it was about time to turn the tables and pamper her with a delicious home-made jewel of a pie. This Oh-My-It’s-Mother’s-Day pie is the perfect representation of my mother’s personality: bright, sweet and beautiful.
The pistachio pie crust is not only incredibly pretty with its very seducing green hue, but has the most enchanting flavour imaginable. The smooth mascarpone filling was flavoured with orange zest and amaretto and decorated with lusciously plumb dates and sharp dried cranberries. It is perfect in every possible way…
If you would like to bake this wonderful pie for your wonderful mother – or for someone else you love – here is the recipe:

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Mascarpone- orange- date pie with pistachio crust
Ingredients:
For the pistachio pie crust:
• 150gr ground pistachios
• 50gr caster sugar
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• 50gr butter
• 1 egg yolk
For the filling:
• 300gr mascarpone
• 1,6 dl double cream
• 4 eggs
• Zest of one orange
• 5 dried dates, quartered
• Handful of dried cranberries
• 1 tbsp corn flour
• 1 tbsp amaretto
• 4 tbsp caster sugar

 
Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
2. For the pie crust, put the ground pistachio, baking powder, sugar and butter in a bowl and beat until you get a sandy consistency. Add the egg yolk and mix through.
3. Press this mixture into the base of the prepared cake tin. Use a tablespoon to flatten and press the mixture down to form a dense base.
4. Bake into the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. For the mascarpone filling, mix together the eggs, sugar, corn flour, cream, mascarpone, amaretto and orange zest until you get a smooth and runny mixture. Pour the mixture onto the baked pistachio crust. Scatter the dried dates and cranberries into the batter (some will sink to the bottom, others while stay on the surface)
6. Bake into the oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and leave to cool slightly before refrigerating for at least one hour.

My Indian Food Walhalla: Pretty Impeccable Paneer

Published May 2, 2013 by The Feminist

I often think that I must have been Indian in a previous life. I love bold colours, I love accessories and I love spicy food. But above all, I’m simply smitten with Indian food. Of all types of world food, there is just one cuisine I couldn’t possibly live without, and that’s the Indian cuisine.
It’s spicy. It’s hot. It’s oh so comforting and if things couldn’t get any better: vegetarians will never be neglected! Indian cuisine literally overflows with fragrant and rich veggie dishes! My current food obsession: paneer. (For the food dummies among you: paneer is a non-melting fresh cheese that is very popular on the Indian subcontinent. If you have no idea what it tastes like – shame on you! – you should definitely try the very popular dishes mattar paneer (with peas) or saag paneer (with spinach)! They taste divine!)
However, you don’t have to go to an Indian restaurant to experience the rich flavours of Indian cuisine. You can easily experiment with Indian spices and flavours in your own little 70s-inspired kitchen. It may not be as authentic, but it will definitely give that same comforting richness. Plus, you don’t have to stick to the traditional dishes. You can experiment and create dishes with all the left-overs you have lying around in your fridge. The following dishes were packed full of spicy, sunny flavours (they brought an instant smile to my face!) and they were dead easy and super-duper quick! I swear, these dishes are so speedy, it would even make Jamie Oliver blush!

 

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Fruity Paneer red curry
If you are looking for an explosion of flavours: this is it! I know it may sound really weird to combine cherry tomatoes, curry paste and pineapple juice (it actually sounds really icky!) but it works so well, you’ll be in an utter state of culinary delirium!
Ingredients (serves one):
• 100 gr paneer, cut into cubes
•  half a red pepper, finely sliced
• 200gr canned apricots, roughly chopped
• Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1dl pineapple juice
• 2 tbsp red curry paste
• 1 tbsp garam massala
• ½ tbsp turmeric
• Fish sauce
• Fresh coriander
Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the red pepper for a couple of minutes. Add the pineapple juice and curry paste and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the apricots, cherry tomatoes and the spices and put on a low heat for a further 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, grill the paneer cheese in a very hot pan for a minute on each side. Sprinkle on some salt and garam massala.
4. Finish the curry with a splash of fish sauce to taste and the fresh coriander.
5. Serve the crunchy paneer on top of your steaming fruity curry and serve some naan or fluffy rice on the side.

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Comforting bean-endive-peanut paneer curry
I was feeling a bit down and depressed the other day…

Wait! Let me rephrase that, since I’m not in the mood to be euphemistic: I was having a severe panic attack about my fast approaching thesis deadline. (That’s more like it 😉 ) So I was looking for something really comforting to have for dinner and so this dish was born. The peanut butter and soy cream make it incredibly creamy , the endive provides that bitter tang and the beans are high in protein and an excellent source of iron. This dish is the perfect spirit lifter!
Ingredients(serves one depressed lady in need of some real comfort)
• 200gr endive, blanched and drained (you can substitute it with spinach are pak choi if you prefer)
• 200gr small can of white beans
• 100gr paneer, cut into cubes
• 100dl soy milk
• 1 tbsp peanut butter
• 1/2tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp curry powder
• ½ tsp sambal oelek
Method:
1. Heat the soy milk in a pan over a medium heat, together with the peanut butter, turmeric, curry powder and sambal. Bring to the boil.
2. Add the blanched endive and white beans and let is simmer on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, grill the paneer cheese in a very hot pan for one minute on each side and season with salt, pepper and curry powder.
4. Serve the steaming curry in a large bowl and top with the grilled paneer. Serve with some delicious naan or Turkish bread ( whatever you prefer really, but I believe there is no better way to lift your spirits than to dunk some bread in a yummy sauce so that it gets all juicy and soggy. But hey, that might as well just be me 😉 )

Quiche me Quick: Asian-inspired salmon quiche

Published April 28, 2013 by The Feminist

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I love cooking. (No surprise there) I love baking. (Again, not the most astonishing confession)And I love eating healthy. (Surely the first two need not rule out a well-balanced diet?)

Hence my sincere and utter adoration for this quiche. With just a wee bit of cooking and baking, you can conjure up the most nutritiously healthy quiche, that is packed full of Asian flavours and gives you a great Omega-3 boost!

When I tell people that I love cooking and eating, they often react with the rather insulting “You’re too skinny to be a foodie”-remark.( Especially when they read my posts about the very sweet treats I like to bake 😉 ) The truth is: I love sugary sweet things. I love eating sugary sweet things. But I love healthy food as well. It is all about balance. So I’m skinny- so what? If their narrow-mindedness cannot seem to comprehend the possibility of being a skinny foodie, well, that is their problem, not mine!

But let’s not dwell on my personal frustrations and let us focus on this yummy quiche instead. It is healthy and yet very comforting at the same time! Not possible? Wait ‘till you try it yourself! Your taste buds will simply resolve and reconcile these ostensible contradictions!

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Asian-inspired salmon quiche

Ingredients:

• One sheet of short crust pastry
• 300gr salmon fillet, cut into 2cm cubes
• 1 granny smith apple, diced
• 2 heads of chicory, chopped
• Fresh coriander, chopped
• 1 tbsp curry powder
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 3 eggs
• 150ml skimmed milk
• 150ml low-fat cream

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a 23cm loose-bottomed quiche tin with the short crust pastry. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill it with rice or dried beans. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
2. For the filling, beat together the eggs, milk and cream. Add the curry powder, turmeric and salt and pepper.
3. Remove the greaseproof paper and the beans and arrange all the remaining ingredients evenly in the bottom of the pastry case.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes

The Epitome of Elegance: Rose and Apricot Millefeuille

Published April 27, 2013 by The Feminist

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Forget Grace Kelly, Jackie O. and Marilyn. No Hollywood diva can compete with the delicate and dainty appearance of the Millefeuille. Although I usually opt for the more robust cakes and pies with bold and rich flavours, today I felt like tackling the grandeur and grace of one of France’s greatest classics.

My version of the Millefeuille is –as always- a bit different from the original. Instead of thousand layers of puff pastry (which is what “millefeuille” literally means), I just had two. Admittedly, my version may not have the majestic luxury of the French classic, but I believe it still looks rather delicate and refined. (Just nod your head if you agree 😉 )

However, when it comes to flavour, my very own personalized rose and apricot Millefeuille far surpassed the rather boring flavour palette of the original. (no offence to all French pastry chefs) I went for a rose and honey flavoured custard topped with fresh apricot, dried cranberries and home-made meringues. It tasted so exquisite, it was almost impossible to believe I had made it myself! It would even make Michel Roux jealous!

Michel Who? Exactly. No one nails the essence of superior flavour better than I do. Me, pretentious? Just remember: if you want to be a good baker, you have to be a bit boastful! 😉

Rose and apricot Millefeuille

Ingredients(makes 6):

• One sheet of puff pastry
• 2,5 dl milk
• ½ tsp rose water
• 3 egg yolks, (you can save the egg whites for the meringues or use shop-bought meringues)
• 2 tbsp corn flour
• 2 tbsp caster sugar
• 3 tbsp runny honey
• Handful of dried cranberries
• 3 ripe apricots, peeled, stoned and halved
• Almond flakes
• Icing sugar

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Cut out 6 rectangular pieces of puff pastry, brush them with some of the remaining egg white and sprinkle over some almond flakes. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Let them cool completely before cutting them in half horizontally.
2. To make the custard, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour until pale and fluffy.
3. Heat the milk, honey and rose water in a pan over medium heat until it starts to boil. (I also added a couple of drops of red food colouring to give the custard a beautiful pink hue.)
4. Add some of the hot milk to the egg mixture and mix well. Then pour the egg mixture back into the pan of milk and beat constantly on a low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Pour the rose custard in a bowl and cover with cling film. Let it cool completely.
5. Cut the puff pastry cases in half and spread a thick layer of rose custard on the bottom layer.
6. Top with small chunks of apricot, dried cranberries and some crushed meringues.
7. Finish with the top layer of puff pastry and dust with icing sugar.